SONNY Bill Williams has shut down speculation he could make an NRL return this year, declaring he's committed to New Zealand rugby and the quest for a record third consecutive World Cup triumph with the All Blacks next year.
Rumours of a Williams comeback to rugby league spread after he was linked to the Sydney Roosters by former Roosters player Jimmy Smith on a Sydney radio station on Sunday.
Roosters chairman Nick Politis however dismissed the possibility of Williams' return on Monday, before New Zealand Rugby also slammed the story as unfounded.
Williams himself later took to social media to shoot it down.
I love being a part of the (Auckland Blues) and (All Blacks). God willing I'm a part of another successful World Cup campaign next year in 2019," Williams tweeted.
It was suggested Williams had been told he was not part of the All Blacks' plans for the World Cup and had signed a deal to return to the Roosters after finishing the Super Rugby season with the Blues.
That would have required a unlikely change of thinking by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, for whom 32-year-old Williams has been a defensive rock in the centres.
Dual international Williams is one of a small group of All Blacks who can become the first players to win the Rugby World Cup three times.
Politis scotched talk of a fresh deal done with Williams, who was a key player in the Roosters' 2013 premiership triumph during a two-season stint.
"It's news to me. As far as I'm aware he's contracted to play rugby union in New Zealand," Politis said.
"We love Sonny and we'll always love Sonny. But I'm not sure where this has come from."
Roosters' high-profile recruits Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco both said they'd welcome any chance to play alongside Williams although they knew nothing of any move to sign him
"There's no doubt that he's obviously been a very important not only player, but personality, for the Roosters in recent times. If it all worked out, obviously it'd be great," Cronk said.
Tedesco also admitted it was a nice thought.
"That would be exciting having a guy like that. I don't know how our salary cap is looking, but having a guy to play off like Sonny Bill would be unreal," he said.